Over the years, Parent-Teacher Network leaders at Edu-Prize Charter School in Gilbert, Ariz., have done a spectacular job raising funds to furnish classrooms with such items as electronic whiteboards, books, and reading program software. But they’ve done an even better job at providing opportunities for families of the K-6 school’s 1,100 students to come together and show their generous and giving spirits to those in need. And for eight years running, the students at St. Peter Indian Mission School on Arizona’s Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation have benefited from that kindness at Christmastime. That focus on the broader community made the Edu-Prize PTN a winner for Outstanding Community Service Project in the 2010 PTO Today Parent Group of the Year search.
Before the winter holidays, PTN leaders at Edu-Prize coordinate a collection for St. Peter’s 200 students, many of whom come from poor families and move frequently. Dozens of Edu-Prize students and families respond by donating books, supplies, and toys—valued at well over $4,000—for students at St. Peter.
Edu-Prize parents and staff members then caravan to St. Peter in two rented trucks loaded with the items. A volunteer dad plays the role of Santa.
But the PTN’s generosity doesn’t end there. The group has also undertaken many other charitable campaigns in recent years. Students and families have collected toiletries for a children’s home and food during the holidays for a local food bank. The school’s physical edu cation teacher also coordinated a Jump Rope for Heart program for the American Heart Association. PTN leaders have coordinated drives for Caps for a Cure as well as Pasta for Pennies, in which students collected spare change from friends and family to benefit children with cancer. In 2008, the school received an award from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for being the top contributor in the state. And in 2009, one classroom created baskets of items that were sent to soldiers serving overseas rather than being sold at the school auction.
The judges loved: Unclaimed items from the school’s lost-and-found are donated each quarter to Goodwill, the local Boys & Girls Club, or agencies serving the homeless. Families at Edu-Prize also donate supplies to House of Refuge, a transitional program for homeless families in the area.
Cool fact: In April 2010, PTN leaders initiated a cultural exchange program in which students visited a local school and celebrated the heritage of 14 ethnic groups. Edu-Prize kids brought gifts and were paired with a host student.